Sunday, June 25, 2006


Sunday, June 18, 2006


As weekends go, I've just had a fantastic one.

It has been both a busy and relaxed weekend, spending time alone and spending time with friends: strolling around West Coast Park, morning break and stroll around the Intercontinental & Bugis Junction, an interesting & thought-provoking movie, a night out mingling and window-shopping at the pub, late night supper at Maxwell, etc. And of course, lots of hugs. :p

I've also heard from a pal who's recently moved abroad. Hope he had a good experience at the Web. :) Web-esque & Kudo-esque places have to be taken in with a bit of detached humour.

I'll prolly have a chat with Jonny in a bit, if he's at home.

And read a book on the British National Service.

A nice relaxing evening to end the week. :) I daresay this is my loveliest weekend in a long time.

This weekend's movie's U-Carmen, an adaptation of Carmen. Instead of Sevilla, U-Carmen takes place in a South African township. Instead of Spaniards, the characters are South Africas who speak/sing Xhosa.

I'm aware that particular members of the audience didn't like the film. The (Australian) lady sitting behind me said rather loudly 'Bizet would turn in his grave.' To which lyraine and I burst out laughing. :p Yah. Singaporeans laugh at the farniest things.

I think also that because Carmen was written for the stage, it would be challenging for an cinematic adaptation to match the operatic pageantry of a live performance.

But I quite like the film - for two main reasons.

First, the cast. According to www.incinemas.com.sg, "the singing cast are from Dimpho Di Kopane, whose members were sourced from the shantytowns and had no formal musical training in opera at all". Wow. Their talent is just amazing lor! Can you imagine our kopitiam aunties and ah peks singing a Singlish adaptation of Carmen (with Selena Tan in the title role), haha? Actually, haha, maybe the kopi-aunties shouting orders may be enlisted, hehe. The lady playing U-Carmen was fantastic, though I think her U-Carmen is a tad more malignant than the more common interpretations and depictions of Carmen. I feel that U-Carmen's really charismatic and attractive (Big ladies can be amazing, e.g. Mandisa!). But I wouldn't like U-Carmen as a person. Unlike with Carmen, I cannot trust or sympathise with her.

Second, the script. Having Xhosa lyrics (clicks and all). The incorporation of South Africa music and rhythms. The sheer ingenuity involved in converting Carmen from a European opera to an African cinematic musical.

Some scenes that stick in my mind: the Singapore Airlines plane landing, the cows crossing the overhead bridge, and the can of F&N Fanta Orange on the table. The cows made me laugh out loud. Again, Singaporeans laugh at the strangest things? :p

For a better movie experience, Picturehouse definitely needs to buck up. It's freaking cold for one. And the sound-proofing is koyak: I could hear renovation works (drilling) in the background. ARGH.

Okay. Here's some possible plans for the next few weeks:

a) Speed-dating. STRAIGHT speed dating. AKA GIRLS. Eeek. haha. But might be fun. Make friends lor. lyraine, let me think about it, haha. I don't want girl trouble again. :p

Mega Dating @ Crystal Cafe (Overseas Graduates)

Spend your Thursday evening meeting new friends over sumptuous buffet dinner in a cosy restaurant. Strictly for just up to 38 Diners who are Overseas Graduates. Don't be late! Sign up now...

Event Date & Time: 13 July 2006 7.00pm to 10.

b) Chalet. I'm thinking of organising a chalet, subject to budget constraints. If it's a two day thing, then one day would be a uni-mates outing and the other would be a g.com one. Any recommendations for this? I've only been the SAFRA one at Changi, eons ago. hmm. Chalet also good for practising my cycling.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

我要快乐 - 张惠妹


(It's a sad song, I know. :) I'm not depressed. I just like the song.)

Beautiful Thing; Broken Hearts Club; Gosford Park; The Hours

For my 300th entry on this blog, I'll put up some of my favourite lines from a couple of my favourite movies. Thanks to IMDB. :) Some of those lines from the hours nudged me in my current direction. And I am happy for that.


Sandra: It's not natural, is it?
Jamie: What ain't?
Sandra: A girl her age being into Mama Cass.
Leah: She's got a really beautiful voice.
Sandra: And what's wrong with Madonna?
Leah: She's a slut.
Sandra: Hypocrite.


Miss Chauhan: Right, now, this is Mr. Bennett and he's gonna be taking the boys for football. Mr. Bennett foolishly wants to be a teacher.
Ryan McBride: What you fucking looking at?
Miss Chauhan: Er, less fucking and more attention please.
[She looks across to Gina, who is obviously pregnant]
Miss Chauhan: Something you might have said to your boyfriend, that, Gina.


Jamie: You know who Claude Monet is?
Sandra: Jamie, don't make me out to be thick.
Jamie: Who was he then?
Sandra: He painted the Sixteenth Chapel.


Leah: Don't suppose you've got any jobs in your new pub?
Sandra: No. But if I ever do turn it into a brothel I'll get back to you, ok?


Howie: Dumb gorgeous people should not be allowed to use literature when competing in the pickup pool. It's like bald people wearing hats... it's deceiving.


Taylor: I was left for another man. And not just any other man, a trainer. A trainer named Dash. I was left for a punctuation mark.


Marshall: I hang on because I love you, and I wait patiently for you to calm down and wake up and realize that you love me too. You hang on because it's easy.
Howie: When you say it like that I sound like an asshole!


Dennis: You told them!
Kevin: It just kind of slipped out. My mom said she made some key lime pie, and I said 'great, I love key lime pie... and I'm gay'.
Dennis: I bet she wishes she made apple pie instead.


Jack: Sometimes I wonder what you boys would do if you weren't gay. You'd have no identity. It was easy when you couldn't talk about it. Now it's all you talk about. You talk about it so much that you forget about all the other things that you are.


Henry Denton: You British really don't have a sense of humor do you?
Elsie (Head Housemaid): We do if something's funny.


Henry Denton: He's a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat.
Mrs. Croft: Doesn't eat meat? He comes to a shooting party and doesn't eat meat?
Mrs. Wilson: Now, now Mrs. Croft, we don't want to be thought unsophisticated. Mr. Weissman's an American. They do things differently there.


Morris Weissman: What about Claudette Colbert? She's British, isn't she? Is she, like, affected or is she British?


Lavinia Meredith: It makes you sound desperate.
Anthony Meredith: Well, I AM fucking desperate.


Elsie: Why do we spend our time living through them? Look at poor old Lewis. If her own mother had a heart attack, she'd think it was less important than one of Lady Sylvia's farts.


Dorothy: I believe in love. Not just getting it, but giving it. I think that if you're able to love someone, even if they don't know it, even if they can't love you back, then it's worth it.


Lady Sylvia McCordle: What *are* you wearing?
Isobel McCordle: Don't you like it? You bought it.
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Did I? How extraordinary of me.


Vanessa Bell: Virginia.
Virginia Woolf: Leonard thinks it's the end of civilization: People who are invited at 4 and arrive at 2:30.
Vanessa Bell: Oh God.
Virginia Woolf: Barbarians.


Leonard Woolf: If I didn't know you better I'd call this ingratitude.
Virginia Woolf: I am ungrateful? You call ME ungrateful? My life has been stolen from me. I'm living in a town I have no wish to live in... I'm living a life I have no wish to live... How did this happen?


Virginia Woolf: I'm dying in this town.
Leonard Woolf: If you were thinking clearly, Virginia, you would recall it was London that brought you low.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly? If I were thinking clearly?
Leonard Woolf: We brought you to Richmond to give you peace.
Virginia Woolf: If I were thinking clearly, Leonard, I would tell you that I wrestle alone in the dark, in the deep dark, and that only I can know. Only I can understand my condition. You live with the threat, you tell me you live with the threat of my extinction. Leonard, I live with it too.


Virginia Woolf: This is my right; it is the right of every human being. I choose not the suffocating anesthetic of the suburbs, but the violent jolt of the Capital, that is my choice. The meanest patient, yes, even the very lowest is allowed some say in the matter of her own prescription. Thereby she defines her humanity. I wish, for your sake, Leonard, I could be happy in this quietness.
Virginia Woolf: But if it is a choice between Richmond and death, I choose death.


Clarissa Vaughn: All right Richard, do me one simple favor. Come. Come sit.
Richard Brown: I don't think I can make it to the party, Clarissa.
Clarissa Vaughn: You don't have to go to the party, you don't have to go to the ceremony, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You can do as you like.
Richard Brown: But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that...
Clarissa Vaughn: You do have good days still. You know you do.
Richard Brown: Not really. I mean, it's kind of you to say so, but it's not really true.


Clarissa Vaughn: That is what we do. That is what people do. They stay alive for each other.


Virginia Woolf: Dear Leonard. To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.


Clarissa Vaughn: I don't know what's happening to me. I seemed to be unraveling.


Clarissa Vaughn: He gives me that look.
Julia: What look?
Clarissa Vaughn: To say your life is trivial. You are so trivial.


[in 1921]
Virginia Woolf: [writing in her book] Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
[in 1951]
Laura Brown: [reading in bed] Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
[in 2001]
Clarissa Vaughan: Sally, I think I'll buy the flowers myself.
[waking up]
Sally Lester: What? What flowers?
Sally Lester: Oh, shit! I forgot!


Vanessa Bell: Your aunt is a very lucky woman, Angelica. She has two lives. She has the life she is leading, and also the books she is writing.


Sally: Why do I always have to sit next to the exes? Is this some kind of a hint, sweetheart? Anyway, shouldn't the exes have a table of their own, where they can all ex together in ex-quisite agony?


Virginia Woolf: Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. It's contrast.


Angelica Bell: What happens when we die?
Virginia Woolf: What happens?
Virginia Woolf: We return to the place we came from.
Angelica Bell: I don't remember where I came from.
Virginia Woolf: Nor do I.


Virginia Woolf: I am saying, Vanessa, that even crazy people like to be asked.


Virginia Woolf: It's on this day. This day of all days. Her fate becomes clear to her.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is He Cute or Is He British?

Hilarious ... :p

Is He Cute or Is He British?
by Sarah Hepola

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week the Non-Expert helps a forlorn reader determine if her new guy actually looks as good as he talks.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


I recently started dating a British guy. I think he’s cute, but maybe it’s just that he has an English accent. How can I tell the difference?—Carrie F.


Like many romantic dilemmas—“Your place or mine?,” “Is it warm in here, or am I just drunk?”—this is a question that has long plagued American women. The British accent is Kryptonite to the female resolve, and though the evening may start with him innocently “chatting you up,” it ends with your knickers draped on a lamp in his sketchy midtown apartment. Would this happen if he didn’t have that damn British accent? Yes, because you’re a slut. But it wouldn’t have happened twice. And not while his mum was visiting.

When it comes to the attractiveness of British men, American women are simply incapable of rendering a proper judgment. Bad teeth, the unibrow, Guinness bloat, doesn’t matter; hell, we think Tony Blair is hot. Studies have proven that British accents are, in fact, the number one cause of hot women dating nerdy men. (Number two cause? Woody Allen.) There’s nothing wrong with dating men who have British accents; Madonna liked her husband’s so much she got one of her own. But there are scoundrels out there—those who use their cute British accents to lure innocent birds to their flat for a friendly game of hide the blood sausage. Sorry.

The following prompts will help as you try to decipher whether your new bloke is a winner or a wanker. Beware the British accent, ladies, and remember: The country that gave us Shakespeare also gave us Simply Red.


How does he dress?

The archetypal British chap wears tweed jackets, a fine cashmere sweater vest, and a dashing Burberry coat. (Well, that’s what they wore in Closer. Hell if I’ve ever been to London.) But most British blokes I know are less formal, prone to wearing World Cup-sponsored clothing and jeans. This is fine. It’s to be expected. With one caveat: If there is any chance of a gold chain and a yellow tracksuit in his closet, I say run.


Beware cultural nuance.

Though we speak the same language, Americans and Brits have famously different words to describe the same thing. Everyone knows what we call “fries,” they call “chips.” But there are subtle phrases which, if you’re not careful, can cause grievous misunderstanding. For instance: When he says, “Can I bum a fag?” he’s not trying to expand your relationship—he is simply asking for a cigarette. When he says, “I could murder a taxi right now” he means only that he wants a taxi very badly. When he says, “I’m off to the pub with me mates for some tipple,” it means he’s going to pee the bed. Watch out.

Other yummy articles on the Morning News

London Sprawling

Shirtless Summer

Vexed in the City

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Book Club

Argh. Been so busy of late, esp. at work, that I'm always so tired. And I've run out of things to say, or to be really really excited about. Ok. The tiredness is an excuse, for not reading much of late. So, these days, I'm not even a pseudo-intellectual lor, just a brainless boy with awkward silences, cannot even be smart-alecky.

Anyhow, today, a friend suggested setting up a book club. What's a book club? ermz. Without wikipedia-ing, I get the impression that it's something like a group of friends coming together, having read a particular book / article / works by a particular author / poem / anthology ..., to discuss their thoughts. Kinda like a lit class perhaps, only hopefully without a know-it-all teacher who goes on and on about poetic devices and postmodernist interpretations. An excuse to socialise maybe. But a good (and possibly pseudo-intellectual :p ) one. Some different to do in Singapore.

If you were to set up a book club today, suggest a couple of books (any book, regardless of whether you're read it or not) you would put forth / recommend. :)

Browsing Amazon, I've come out with the following five:

1) The Stolen Child: A Novel
by Keith Donohue

Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double.

On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings — an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature.

In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry's life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can't hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world.

The Stolen Child is a classic tale of leaving childhood and the search for identity. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue has created a bedtime story for adults and a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights.

2) In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote

Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.

3) Knowledge and the Wealth Of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery
by David Warsh

In this shrewd piece of intellectual history, former Boston Globe columnist Warsh shows how two contradictory concepts of Adam Smith-the invisible hand and the division of labor (famously, at a pin factory)-took on lives of their own after their 1776 publication in The Wealth of Nations, and then finally converged in the work of late 20th century economist Paul Romer. In the first half of this book, Warsh gives an entertaining and precise history of economic thought from Smith forward, through the lens of what have come to be two of his key constructs. Warsh's treatment of difficult economic concepts like value is brief but clear and accurate, and he gives equal weight to personalities, institutions and broader social forces. In the second half of the book, Warsh advances the claim that in the 1970s and 80s, when Romer divided economics into people, ideas and things, instead of labor, capital and land, he touched off a revolution in the field, one that is still playing out in now-dominant "New Growth Theory" economics. Warsh does not focus narrowly on Romer's work, but describes the social and institutional framework of modern professional economics: how ideas percolate, how papers are published, how careers advance and how meetings and societies are organized. The book brings sophisticated ideas into a complex story without losing the thread, or the reader's interest.

4) Why Most Things Fail : Evolution, Extinction and Economics
by Paul Ormerod

Businesses collapse just as surely as people do, yet economics textbooks and financial reporters stubbornly concentrate on success rather than failure. Ormerod (Butterfly Economics) argues this outlook is fundamentally flawed; failure, he says, is "the distinguishing feature of corporate life," and he uses it to link economic models with models of biological evolution, which he presents as a string of extinctions rather than survival of the fittest. Despite this parallel, his focus is on economic theory and what he sees as its inadequate accounting of uncertainty (defined as the impossibility of knowing how policies or business strategies will work) and how it breeds failure. He writes about complex concepts such as power-law behavior, game theory and bounded rationality, but makes them accessible to the lay reader with lengthy but readable explanations that forsake jargon for contemporary cultural references. (Though people who are already familiar with the debates he brings up will doubtless get more out of the book) Yet for all his persuasive examples, the book never crystallizes into a whole, so while readers may find many parts provocative, they are likely to finish it still lacking a complete understanding of failure as Ormerod sees it.

5) The Economics of Innocent Fraud : Truth For Our Time
by John Kenneth Galbraith

Economics cultivates its own version of truth. Galbraith notes that no one is especially at fault - and what is at issue is simply a widespreadpreference to believe what is convenient. Hence the term “innocent fraud”. Most practitioners have simply been conditioned into a thought framework, without consciousness of how their views were shaped. This much is certainly echoed elsewhere in the economics literature, as in Joan Robinson's comment that economics is part science and part ideology, and in the economic philosophy literature, per medium of the writings of Schumacher, Etzioni, Sen and others who object that most economists don’t appreciate that alternative conceptions of the nature of humankind and of the acceptability of utilitarianism are available and that their theories would have to change if they acceded to them.

Galbraith objects that bland reference to “the market system” places a veil over the reality of corporate power. The market is subject to skilledand comprehensive management but this is not mentioned in most economics teaching. Thus, teaching new students of “the market system”, and of consumer sovereignty, is “a not wholly innocent fraud”.

P.S. Italics are drawn from publishers' notes, reviews and blurbs.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Sexy intro.


I normally hate those Intro bits to websites.

But this is way sexy: Blake McGrath

Way way sexy.

And I love the music too.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Visitor stats

Just took a peek at my blog's visitor stats.


Do I know anyone who lives in Bayern? Or Texas?

Only 15 percent of my recent visitors are from Singapore.

33 percent are from Bayern.

21 percent from London.

And 11 percent from Houston.


How come?

A Moment in Time

There are particular moments, I guess, in everyone's life that one would definitely remember.

Today, I think I had one of those, pedaling for about 10 m on a rented bicycle, on a patch of sand at East Coast Park.

It was a moment when things just seemed to fall in place, and voila, something miraculous happened. A moment of epiphany - "OH! So this is how one cycles ..."

A BIG BIG "THANK YOU" to M, who was very patient in teaching psychometrically-challenged me how to cycle. :) I definitely had a fantastic and memorable time!

Now, next, I need to learn how to brake ... :p

Pretty-boy MPs

If David Cameron is right and the British public likes cute MPs, then this could be a sight to be seen in Westminster upon the next election. Apparently, this bloke is gunning for Michael Howard's safe Folkestone and Hythe seat, when the former Tory leader vacates it.

Apparently, he has recently come up with an A-list of Tory candidates. This A-list is rather diverse and atypical of the usual white, middle-class male Tory slate: more than 50 percent of the top 100 are ladies, and 10 percent are from ethnic minorities. Another tranche of the "best and brightest" candidates will join the list later in the year. I haven't looked at the full list, but ex-Coronation Street actor Adam Rickitt eco-campaigner Zac Goldsmith and author Louise Bagshawe, who are all on this list, don't strike me as the typical Tory candidate profile.

Mr Cameron says: "This is not about appearance, this is not about political correctness. It is about being more effective. ... I want to make sure the conversation the Conservative Party has in Parliament amongst itself is like the conversation we need to have with the rest of the country."

But there's opposition of course. Francis Maude, the Conservative chairman, vowed not to impose "mincing metrosexuals" on "gritty northern" seats.

Maybe more Brits will watch Prime Minister's Questions come 201X. And swoon.


Well, we'll see.

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